11 a.m. Saturday, April 4
Honoring Dr. King on 30th anniversary of his
death with ’98 activism for strawberry workers;
brief service, billboarding at Busch Stadium
A month before his assassination, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. joined in solidarity with another civil rights leader who was fasting for 25 days in Delano, Calif. to rededicate his farm workers’ movement to nonviolence. In the third year of a bitter strike against California grape growers, Dr. King unequivocally backed Cesar Chavez’s nonviolent battle for grape workers.
Thirty years to the day after Dr. King’s death, labor, religious and community activists will mark that anniversary by rallying behind the latest United Farm Workers’ drive-to improve the lives of abused California strawberry pickers. A major UFW organizing campaign seeks to remedy poor pay and conditions-including pesticide-treated fields-despite bitter opposition from that state’s $600 million-a-year strawberry industry.
"If Cesar and Dr. King were here today, what would they tell Driscoll, America’s largest strawberry corporation?" asks UFW St. Louis Director Virginia Nesmith. "They would say, let workers organize!" The Saturday, April 4, 1998 schedule includes:
11 a.m.-Memorial service honoring Dr. King in the rotunda of the Old Courthouse at Broadway & Market Sts.
11:30 a.m..-"Human billboarding" outside Busch Stadium urging fans to support the strawberry workers’ cause.
In March 1968, Dr. King sent a telegram to the fasting Cesar Chavez: "As brothers in the fight for equality, I extend the hand of fellowship and good will…You and your valiant fellow workers have demonstrated your commitment to righting grievous wrongs forced upon exploited people. We are together with you in spirit and in determination that our dreams for a better tomorrow will be realized."
March 10, 1998 was also 30 years since Chavez ended his 25-day fast for non-violence. He died in 1993.
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